Friday, 21 Sep 2018
World

Last survivor of an isolated Amazonian tribe taken at the camera

The only surviving member of a reclusive Amazonian tribe was captured in the Brazilian rainforest

The man, aged about fifty, lives alone for 22 years in the state of Rondônia, in western Brazil. He was filmed cutting a tree in the clearest images of his activities, reported Guardian

Altair Algayer, regional coordinator of the Brazilian agency Funai – who oversees the native populations of the country – was with the team that filmed the footage. "He's doing very well, hunting, maintaining some papaya and corn plantations," says Algayer. "He has good health and fitness by doing all these exercises."

 RTXRT5K [19659005] A fisherman sails on a river near Porto Velho, capital of the state of Rondônia, Brazil, on November 19, 2009. </span data-recalc-dims= REUTERS / Ricardo Moraes

During the 1970s and 1980s, indigenous tribes in Brazil faced constant attacks from loggers, farmers, and land grabbers. The military government was unable or unwilling to protect the natives, which led to a sharp drop in the population of the indigenous tribes and the area at their disposal. The filmed man is considered the only survivor of a 1995 attack by farmers who killed five of his comrades.

He was discovered alive alone in 1996 and has been followed by Funai ever since. He was briefly filmed in 1998 as part of the Brazilian documentary Corumbiara. Funai protects the tribes by avoiding any contact with them and by establishing surrounding exclusion zones. The group has been observing the area since the 1990s and established it as a Tanaru Reserve in 2015. The man survived an attack from ranchers in 2009, but Funai said no one is safe. has been lost in the protected area in the last five years. the man feeds on forest pigs, monkeys and birds captured with the help of a bow and arrow and holes, filled with sharpened wooden sticks . Because of this, he is known as "the native man in the hole". He lives in a shelter built in the forest, sleeping in a hammock sunk into another hole in the ground.

Funai officials have tried several times to get in touch with the man in the hole, but they still have been repulsed. Axes, machetes and seeds were left in the search and use of the man, but he rejected all attempts to establish a relationship. Algayer said that he understands the rejection, believing that it's "his sign of resistance, and a bit of repudiation, hatred, knowing the story he's going through."

 RTX1UUU7 [19659012] An illegal logging camp covered with blue tarpaulin is photographed in the Bom Futuro National Forest near Rio Pardo in Porto Velho, Rondônia State, Brazil, on September 3, 2015. Such activities threaten indigenous communities in the region . </span data-recalc-dims= REUTERS / Nacho Doce

There are approximately 240 tribes currently living in Brazil, with a total population of about 900,000, or 0.4 % of Brazil's population, according to Survival International – a human rights organization formed to defend the rights of indigenous peoples. Brazil has established 690 territories where indigenous peoples can live, covering 13% of the country's total mass.

It is estimated that there are about 80 isolated groups still living in the Amazonian region. They are threatened by illegal logging, farmer violence and the spread of diseases to which they are not opposed. The Brazilian government has recently passed a law that relaxes environmental protections in the Amazon. Activists say it will encourage deforestation that could be catastrophic for indigenous communities.

For the man in the hole, Fiona Watson, director of research and advocacy at Survival International, told Guardian : you're hoping. It's the ultimate symbol, if you will. "

" The irony is that we discover that there are more of these isolated people than we thought. But she's also worried about her blanket exploding, "she adds.

In a Funai Facebook post, Algayer said that despite" losing everything, "the man" has proven that even then, alone in the middle of the bush, it is possible to survive and resist the alliance with society. "

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